NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, December 6th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (14-9-3) at Nashville Predators (12-10-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After blowing a three-goal lead last night, the Phoenix
Coyotes were able to recover and squeak out a shootout victory. Dave Tippett
hopes his club has something left in the tank tonight for a meeting with the
The Coyotes jumped all over the Blackhawks early on Monday, getting first-
period goals from Raffi Torres and Radim Vrbata before Keith Yandle lit the
lamp just 1:09 into the second period. Chicago, though, scored three goals of
its own before the end of the stanza to erase the deficit.
The two teams then skated for another 25 minutes without a goal, leading to
the shootout. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Vrbata both tallied for the Coyotes and
Mike Smith came up with stops on Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa to help the
Coyotes snap a two-game slide.
"We came out with a great first period and then kind of let our guard down a
little bit and got away from our game plan," said Smith, who posted 32 saves
in his 13th win of the season, one shy of his career high set with the
Lightning in 2008-09.
Vrbata's goal was his team-leading 13th of the season and 12 of those have
come in his past 17 games. Ray Whitney added the 599th assist of his career as
the Coyotes won the opener of a three-game swing and moved into a tie with
Dallas for first in the Pacific Division.
Phoenix won despite playing without defenseman Rostislav Klesla due to a
lower-body injury suffered on Saturday versus Philadelphia. The blueliner is
expected to miss a few more games with the ailment.
Nashville, meanwhile, will find out on Tuesday if it will have forward Jordin
Tootoo for this game after he was given a charging major and game misconduct
for running into Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller in Saturday's 3-2 setback.
Miller was making his first start since suffering a concussion after he was
run into by Boston's Milan Lucic on Nov. 12. He and Tootoo made contact during
the second period, causing a pile up of players that saw Miller jump on Tootoo
and throw some punches.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said he knew Tootoo's hit wasn't intentional.
He said Tootoo was in a good place to make a power move and couldn't help but
run into Miller because there was a player on his back.
"He tried to avoid him, in my estimation, because he launched himself to try
to avoid him. That's the only way you can do that," said Trotz.
Craig Smith and David Legwand scored for the Predators, who have lost six of
their last eight. Anders Lindback allowed three goals on just 14 Buffalo shots
in his third start of the season.
Nashville, which has scored nine power-play goals in its last eight games,
snapped a two-game slide to Phoenix with a 3-0 victory in the desert on Nov.
3. That was the second meeting of the season between the clubs following a 5-2
Coyotes win at Nashville on Oct. 13.
Jason LaBarbera has started both games for the Coyotes against the Preds this
season, making 51 saves on 55 shots, and could get the call tonight in the
back end of consecutive games.
Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, has made 61 saves in starting both encounters for the
Preds, while Legwand has posted three assists in the two meetings for a
Nashville club that is 10-3-1 with a tie at home versus the Coyotes since the
start of the 2003-04 campaign.
12/06 10:51:40 ET